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The post Judge Rules Young Thug’s Lyrics Can Be Used in RICO Case by Prosecution appeared first on Consequence.
Per Billboard, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Ural Glanville rejected the rapper’s request to ban the use of lyrics in the case on Thursday morning (November 9th) while granting a motion by prosecutors to preliminarily admit them into evidence. The ruling came after a contentious hours-long hearing held on Wednesday, in which the artist’s attorney Brian Steel made a free speech argument.
“They are targeting the right to free speech, and that’s wrong,” Steel said about the prosecutors. “They are saying that just because he is singing about it, he is now part of a crime.”
However, Judge Glanville vehemently disagreed. “They’re not prosecuting your clients because of the songs they wrote,” he said. “They’re using the songs to prove other things your clients may have been involved in. I don’t think it’s an attack on free speech.” At one point, he interrupted Steel to say, “The First Amendment is not on trial.”
During the hearing, prosecutor Symone Hylton highlighted lyrics from several songs that the state plans to tie to specific incidents, including the shooting of a police officer and the 2015 murder of Donovan Thomas. To that point, prosecutor Michael Carlson insisted that the lyrics were “proclamations of violence” by alleged gang members that are “highly relevant in this case.”
Carlson added, “This is not randomly the state attempting to bring in Run DMC from the ’80s. This is specific. These are party admissions. They just happen to come in the form of lyrics.”
Judge Glanville’s ruling comes after efforts by lawmakers to prevent rap lyrics from being used as evidence in court. Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill called the Decriminalizing Artistic Expression Act into California law in September 2022. Earlier this year, Congress reintroduced the Restoring Artistic Protection (RAP) Act, a federal bill that would limit the use of lyrics and other artistic expression as evidence in criminal cases.
Thug was indicted in May 2022 after being accused of masterminding a criminal gang called Young Slime Life. His lawyers have argued that YSL actually stands for Young Stoner Life and is simply a music label. Last December, YSL artist Gunna pleaded guilty to a racketeering charge and was released from prison.